Wow! At a meeting yesterday, I was introducing myself and the colleague I was being introduced to asked: How long have you been with us? I looked at my supervisor for approval and I said: One month! The response I got from the colleague was very motivating: Oh… then you are almost a veteran now…  and to be honest with all the fast pace of things happening it felt like I was.

So the start at my host institute (Human Rights Campaign) has been a fast track of getting involved in the day-to-day operation which involves getting used to the ever changing calendar e-vites and keeping track… and meetings, meetings, meetings!

I surely took some time to re-adjust myself to the city that I am living in D.C. and finding my weekly routine took some isolation from my Atlas Corps fellows. But I am thankful to Class 26 Fellows Carlos Riviera and his backyard events for small social gatherings, Sara Capaliku and Dorina Dyrmishi and Edison Frangu’s house warming event and for Calum Field’s Halloween Party so far since those have been icebreakers of the month.

Socially -since I run a arts and culture initiative Harup ( – it was very important for me to see what D.C. had to offer… and I am so happy to be in the city because every weekend there is an event. Smithsonian Museum, MCA artist showcase twice a year, gallery openings, Kennedy Center are just the things that I can list on top of my head. And realized that D.C. overall is a very cool city once you start to get around it!

One more aspect is the LGBTQ rights and how ties to the community is being built so being a part of DC. Center for LGBTQ and their events, seeing the community gave me such a big encouragement.

Well so far so good. With everything happening back home in Turkey with arrests, freedom of speech being silenced and changing of political arena in many way have affected me mentally. But by keeping myself busy, oriented and living simply I think I had a good month.

Right now my hair (my fun fact: no matter what I do my hair has a voice of it’s own) is very representative of #9 of this article and the astrologically speaking it seems a year is going to be in Jupiter in Scorpio for a year from now (Jupiter to be the planet that helps us to increase our lives in some way: spiritually, philosophically and faithfully) that I have faith in this year.

I hope you all a great month.

Efe Songun, Atlas Corps Class 26